eli5 How did society form?


From bashing heads to bashing gabbles on judges desks; how did it happen?

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Slowly. We don’t really know. Leading theories are that we settled so we could pursue alcoholism, food stability, or war.

That’s a very broad topic for ELI5. The exceedingly short version is: we figured out that cooperating allowed us to specialize, organize, and accomplish a lot more collectively than we could individually.

(Although, for the record, intraspecies violence was likely far less common than the popular imagination would suggest. We’ve been cooperators for a very long time.)

Chase a gazelle and it gets away.

Chase a gazelle over to where your buddy Urg is hiding with a spear and you get a cheap kill.

“Humans” were doing rudimentary teamwork in small groups before they were even humans at all, so the general framework has always been there.

Eventually some cave man figures out that you can grow food from seeds rather than chasing gazelles around all day, and things start to scale up dramatically.

Society formed because successive generations of people chose to share habitat without killing each other. As populations grew, cooperation led people to establish social conventions and institutions which enabled members to more efficiently realize shared objectives.

Humans are social animals. Our drive to create societies likely predates us as a species. Even our ape ancestors have fairly complex social structures. Out some point some apes figured out that apes together strong. We have been improving ever since.